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Computer Audiophile
alex santos

Steve Nugent, President of Empirical Audio, tackles question of optical vs computer based audio

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Hello everyone.


I came across an extremely engaging article today and wanted to share it with you here. There are no disclaimers I need mention as I am not employed by Empirical Audio nor an owner of their hardware but the article should interest a large majority of us here.




Computer-Driven Audio - Is it Superior to Optical-Based CD Playback?

by Steve Nugent, Empirical Audio


Here are some of the points he draws his focus on:



Contributors to Jitter

Pits in the CD

Optical read head

Master clock in the Transport

Transmission of S/PDIF format

Digital cabling and optical conversion

Optical conversion

Recovery of the clock from the S/PDIF signal

Noisy power and ground loops

Computer audio methods

Playing from the Hard-Disk

How external computer converters minimize jitter

Pops and Ticks

I2S interface

Ripping and file compression

Upsampling on the Computer



I sincerely hope you all take a little something from the article. It is short but very interesting.


Happy holidays to everyone here.


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Thank you for sharing this opinion. After reading the article I can follow why my NAS splutteted and popped when playing files as well as performing back up functions at the same time or other heavy duty activity over ethernet. Since the library is on a fw drive there are no more issues.

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